Halo 5: Guardians launched back in October of 2015, and as you may know, it wasn’t without controversy. Some of this controversy stemmed from the fact that the game took a bit of a different approach than past entires in the series: you didn’t always play as series iconic hero Master Chief. If you played the game, you will know sometimes you rather played as Spartan Locke, who was actually leading as team to hunt down Master Chief. It was a very interesting story premise actually.
However, not everyone took to the lack of Master Chief, this storytelling deviation, very well, and recently franchise manager Frank O’Connor acknowledged this feedback and revealed 343 Industries learned some lessons from the game’s release.
More specifically, O’Connor had the following to say in an interview in the latest GamesTM magazine:
“We took some digs for storytelling in Halo 5, but they were absolutely merited. We very much realized that people wanted Master Chief’s story of Halo 5.
We definitely marketed in a way that we hoped was going to bring surprise, but for some fans and certainly fans of Master Chief, it was a huge disappointment because they wanted more Chief.
They loved Blue Team, they liked Osiris, but they wanted Chief. And that has been a big learning. Chief we tend to think of as kind of a vessel for your adventure rather than necessarily this major character in the universe. He’s really just your entry into the universe.
But people have become attached to him over the last fifteen years and they’ve started to sort of fill in the gaps that the character deliberately has for gameplay reasons with a genuine emotional attachment. We certainly underestimated that with Halo 5.
The effect that the character has on his surroundings and ‘the fate of the galaxy’ has had a resonant effect on fans over the years. It wasn’t that surprising to me, but the volume of ‘give us more Chief’ at the end of Halo 5 was significant and so I think if anything he’s slightly more important now than he has ever been, certainly to our franchise. Instead of focusing on bringing new characters into the world and expanding the playable characters we’ve sort of shifted the focus a little bit to making the world a little bit more realistic and compelling and, I would say, more fun for players who get to inhabit the Chief in the future, pretty much as they demanded.
There’s always a call and response element of shipping a game, you have to ship improvements, you have to ship tweaks and you have to ship changes and sometimes you have to walk some of those back.
Doubling down on Master Chief story and the amount of focus on him was probably the easiest learning from Halo 5. That was a really simple thing to absorb and embrace.”
The next Halo game has yet to be officially announced, but we do know it will have split-screen, which is another lesson the developer learned after shipping Halo 5 without and getting substantial blowback. Perhaps we will see the first teaser trailer this E3.